Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Is there such a thing as a pro-life Democrat?

Life News reports on a troubling story.

Excerpt:

Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, who describes himself as pro-life and campaigned as a pro-life candidate, has vetoed a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

[...]“West Virginia’s Pain-Capable Fetus Protection Act protects children from abortion beginning at 20 weeks fetal age, based on scientific evidence that by this stage of development the child would experience excruciating pain.  Arizona’s law, as its name implies, focused on protecting the health and safety of the mother,” Balch explained.

[...]The states that have passed Pain-Capable bills include Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Texas.  The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797) passed the U.S. House of Representatives on June 18, 2013, by 228-196.  All three members of the West Virginia congressional delegation voted for that bill.

A National Right to Life Committee poll found that 63 percent of Americans, and 70 percent of women, support a ban on post-fetal pain abortion. The same poll also found that American women, by an overwhelming majority of 62-27 percent, would be more likely to vote for lawmakers who support this bill.

Now it seems to me that a ban on abortion after 20 weeks is a no-brainer, sort of like banning sex-selection abortions or banning race-selection abortions. Those are moderate positions that everyone can agree on, and yet this so-called pro-life governor wouldn’t sign the bill. Is that an exception to the way that Democrats usually do business?

Note the first time

But this is not the first time that Democrats have claimed to be pro-life when they actually voted pro-abortion.

Excerpt:

It became apparent on Tuesday that former Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) is suffering from a bout of “voter’s remorse.” In March of 2010, he and a coalition of pro-life democrats made an eleventh-hour decision to vote in favor of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with the justification that an executive order—to be issued by President Obama—would ensure that existing restrictions on federal funding for abortion would apply to the ACA.

What a difference nearly 2 ½ years makes. Mr. Stupak, who in March 2010 expressed unwavering confidence in the “‘ironclad’ commitment” he received “from the president that no taxpayer dollars will be used to pay for abortions,” is now singing a different tune about the ACA, or at least its implementation.

In a Democrats for Life panel during the Democratic National Convention, Stupak expressed his disapproval of the “HHS mandate,” which requires most private insurance plans to cover life-ending drugs and devices, and requires nearly all employers to offer (and pay for) the plans to their employees or pay a stiff penalty.

Mr. Stupak remarked, “I am perplexed and disappointed that, having negotiated the Executive Order with the President, not only does that HHS mandate violate the Executive Order but it also violates statutory law . . . . I think it is illegal.”

Similarly, in November of 2011 former Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA), a member of Stupak’s coalition, claimed that she “would have never voted for the final version of the bill if [she] expected the Obama Administration to force Catholic hospitals and Catholic Colleges and Universities to pay for contraception.” She argued that she and her colleagues “worked hard to prevent abortion funding in health care and to include clear conscience protections for those with moral objections to abortion and contraceptive devices that cause abortion.”

Bart’s “perplexed and disappointed”. He said that in September 2012. Before the election.

But after the election, in 2013, he said that he “did not regret” his vote for the abortion mandate in Obamacare.

So the moral of this story is simple. If you don’t like killing unborn babies, and you don’t want it on your conscience, don’t vote for so-called “pro-life” Democrats. They campaign pro-life and then vote pro-abortion.

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Six bad arguments against religious liberty from the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby hearing

From the Federalist. (H/T Jay Richards)

Here are the 6 arguments:

  1. A Government Surtax On Religious Exercise Is Totally Acceptable
  2. The Mandate Isn’t Really A Mandate
  3. This Is Just A Sneaky Way To Undo The Civil Rights Act
  4. Corporations Can Have A Racial Identity, Just Not A Religious One
  5. Don’t Start A Business If You Want The Government To Respect Your Religious Rights
  6. Abortifacients Aren’t Really Abortifacients

I want to highlight two of these.

First, number 1 makes clear that the Obama administration thinks that you should have to pay a tax in order to follow your conscience. Obama explained that very well in his campaign speeches. If you have a business, you didn’t build that. The government made that happen, and so they have a right to tell you how to run your business.

Here’s #1:

During her questioning of Hobby Lobby’s lead attorney, Justice Sonia Sotomayor appeared to endorse the concept of a religion surtax. Sotomayor’s rationale was that rather than providing health coverage that included abortifacient coverage, companies could refuse outright to provide any health insurance at all, thereby getting around the mandate.

But isn’t there another choice nobody talks about, which is paying the tax, which is a lot less than a penalty and a lot less than — than the cost of health insurance at all? These employers could choose not to give health insurance and pay not that high a penalty ­­– not that high a tax.

Given that the American Revolution started in large part due to a tax on stamps, it seems odd that the Founders would have agreed that citizens should be forced to pay a tax for the privilege of not doing things that might lead to the eternal damnation of their souls. At any rate, Chief Justice John Roberts interjected, and noted that Hobby Lobby’s owners believed they had a religious duty to provide health coverage to their employees. As a result, they would be forced to violate their beliefs no matter what: providing abortifacient coverage would be a violation, as would a failure to provide any health insurance coverage at all.

Number 4 is also interesting. The Democrats basically argued that although companies can be regarded by the law as Black-owned or Hispanic-owned, they cannot be regarded as Christian-owned. A Black-owned company can complain about racial discrimination, but a Christian-owned company can’t complain about religious discrimination. So corporations can have a race, but not a religion.

Here’s #4:

Corporations are people, my friend, just as long as they’re not religious people. That’s the essence of one argument offered by Verrilli. A major issue in the case is whether a for-profit company or corporation even has standing to sue under RFRA, or whether that right is granted only to individuals or non-profits. The Obama administration has argued that for-profit companies do not have standing. That argument led Roberts to ask the following:

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Well, that’s a question of State corporate law. It’s not a question of who can bring an action under RFRA.

Could I just raise — eight courts of appeals, every court of appeal to have looked at the situation have held that Corporations can bring racial discrimination claims as corporations.

Now, does the government have a position on whether corporations have a race?

GENERAL VERRILLI: Yes. We think those are correct and that this situation is different.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: So that — so that a corporation does have a race for purposes of discrimination laws.

“So the person — the corporation can bring as a person a claim of racial discrimination[?]” Roberts asked.

“That’s correct, but not exercise of religion,” Verrilli replied.

My opinion of this Hobby Lobby case is that the government’s real aim is to force Christian churches, groups and businesses to offer abortion as another service in a health insurance plan. They have no respect for religious liberty or conscience. They just want to make sure that no Christian can judge because we would all be complicit in the mass murder of millions of unborn children. There would be no one on the outside who could claim to stand in judgment over the pro-abortion people. That’s why it’s so important to make evil taxpayer-funded. That normalizes it and removes the stigma from the people who take advantage of it. “The whole society paid for this, so I don’t need to feel guilty about it – it’s normal”.

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Does the last-minute Obamacare exemption fix anything?

One of my favorite writers on health care policy is Michael F. Cannon of the libertarian Cato Institute. He has an article in Forbes magazine that I think is a good level-set for the Obamacare changes that are happening in 2014 and beyond.

He writes:

[...]President Obama announced, just days before the deadline for purchasing coverage with a January 1 effective date, that he would offer a categorical “hardship exemption” from the individual mandate to anyone who had their insurance cancelled due to ObamaCare.

[...]If these folks choose not to buy health insurance, they will not face a penalty. They will also have the option to buy, “if it is available in your area,” the lower-cost catastrophic coverage that ObamaCare otherwise offers only to people under age 30, or who receive the separate “unaffordability” exemption from the mandate.

The obvious purpose of this policy is to give political cover to Senate Democrats who must face the voters next year, and are no doubt afraid of attack ads like this one.

[...]Yet this exemption may not be of much value to those who qualify, and is likely to create more problems for ObamaCare supporters than it solves.

The people who qualify for this exemption don’t actually want it. They want health insurance. They had affordable coverage, until ObamaCare took it away from them, and that’s what they still want now. Sebelius boasts that ObamaCare’s catastrophic plans cost 20 percent less than other ObamaCare plans, but don’t confuse that with affordable coverage. The Manhattan Institute’s Avik Roy — who is now the opinion editor for the sprawling Forbes empire – notes that ObamaCare’s catastrophic plans can still cost twice as much as what was previously available on the individual market.

But even if they like their catastrophic plan, they can’t keep it. Sebelius has complete control over the duration of the exemptions, which she has described as a “temporary” step “to smooth [consumers'] transition” to enrollment in Exchange plans. So in a matter of months, Obama will violate his “if you like your health plan” pledge again by kicking these folks out of their catastrophic plans. They will get another cancellation letter tossing them into the Exchanges. Their premiums will surge again. They may lose their doctor again.

The exemption means insurers will suffer losses this year, and rates will be higher next year, for all ObamaCare plans.

The president argued before the Supreme Court that ObamaCare’s regulatory scheme cannot work with out the individual mandate. Yet he has now exempted millions of the very people he most needs to comply with it. This exemption siphons good risks out of the Exchanges and destabilizes the risk pools for both the standard ObamaCare plans and the catastrophic plans. Participating carriers set the rates for their Exchange plans with the expectation that these folks would be purchasing bronze, silver, gold, and platinum plans through the Exchanges. But the healthiest members of this now-exempt group are the most likely to go uninsured or purchase a catastrophic plan. So Obama’s blanket exemption makes those risk pools older and sicker.

This blanket exemption also destabilizes the risk pools for the catastrophic plans. It opens those pools to lots of people over age 30, who have higher health expenses than people under age 30, and whom the insurers were not expecting to buy catastrophic plans when they set those rates.

So the effect of this is going to be to raise rates temporarily, because the insurers companies are not getting the younger, healthy people they need to make the rates as low as they originally calculated. They are going to lose a ton of money because the Democrats are changing the rules at the last minute. They people who have coverage are going to be the ones who make all the claims, and the people who normally don’t make claims are now exempt, temporarily – until the 2014 elections. This is going to be a huge hit to the health insurance companies.

As I noted before, the Democrats are going to have to bail out the insurance companies in order to account for the losses. It’s actually in the Obamacare law already, as David Freddoso explained. But will the Democrats use money from their political party to pay for their mistakes? Hell no – they will borrow it from your children, which is what they are so good at doing. There is a cost for electing incompetent people, and it’s going to continue to rise until the fools are voted out.

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Michigan House and Senate Republicans pass Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act

Good news from Michigan, delivered by Live Action.

Excerpt:

[On Wednesday,] Michigan won an important pro-life victory.

It started this summer when over 315,000 registered voters, representing every county in Michigan, signed the NO Taxes for Abortion Insurance Petition, making it clear that the people of Michigan do not believe abortion is health care and we do not want to pay for it.

On December 11th, both the Michigan House and Senate passed this petition as the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act, with the House voting 62-47 and the Senate voting 27-11. According to this act, elective abortion will no longer be a standard benefit in health plans. Abortion coverage will only be available by purchasing a separate rider. This act also ensures that our tax dollars and insurance premiums will not go toward funding abortions.

Because the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act was initiated by citizens, as allowed by the Michigan Constitution, it does not require the governor’s signature to become law.

[...]The Affordable Care Act requires all the states to have health care exchanges (also called marketplaces) available by 2014. The ACA allows states to exclude abortion as a covered benefit in these insurance exchanges through legislation like the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act. Michigan is the 24th state to exclude abortion coverage from its insurance plans through this provision.

But not everyone was pleased. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was not pleased. And when questioned by Republicans about whether they could see the list of plans that do not support abortion, she declined to provide that list.’

CNS News reports.

Excerpt:

Although Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Oct. 30 that she would provide Congress with a list of the Obamacare plans in the federal health exchange that do not cover abortion, she has yet to do so and, testifying on Dec. 11, backed away from that pledge and urged consumers to just look at the plan benefits on the exchange website.

At the Oct. 30 hearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce , Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) asked Seblius, “Can you provide for the committee the list of insurers in the federal exchange who do not offer, as part of their package, abortion coverage?”

During a somewhat heated back-and-forth, Sebelis said, “I think we can do that, sir,” and added, “I know that is the plan, I will get that information to you.”

Yet during a Dec. 11 House subcommittee hearing, Sebelius declined to say whether she would provide the list requested and instead urged lawmakers and consumers to just look at the benefits package for each plan on the Obamacare exchange websites.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Shimkus said,  “Madam Secretary, you promised last time you were here that you would provide me a national list of those who cover and those who do not cover abortion and abortion services. We have yet to receive that list.”

[...]In an earlier, fractious exchange with Sebelius, Rep. Shimkus expressed frustration, saying, “This is why we’re frustrated, because we just don’t get the truth out of you.”

Oh those Democrats. Always trying to make us pay for abortions even if we are pro-life.

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Supreme Court will rule on Obama administration persecution of Hobby Lobby

Life News reports.

Excerpt:

Hobby Lobby’s battle against the HHS mandate is headed to the Supreme Court, as the high court today agreed to hear its lawsuit against the controversial provision in Obamacare. The Obama administration is attempting to make it comply with the HHS mandate that compels religious companies to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs for their employees.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to take up Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a landmark case addressing the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of business owners to operate their family companies without violating their deeply held religious convictions. This is good news to the Green family, who own the store.

“This is a major step for the Greens and their family businesses in an important fight for Americans’ religious liberty,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead lawyer for Hobby Lobby. “We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will clarify once and for all that religious freedom in our country should be protected for family business owners like the Greens.”

The Obama administration says it is confident it will prevail, saying, “We believe this requirement is lawful…and are confident the Supreme Court will agree.”

“My family and I are encouraged that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide our case,” said Mr. Green, Hobby Lobby’s founder and CEO.  “This legal challenge has always remained about one thing and one thing only: the right of our family businesses to live out our sincere and deeply held religious convictions as guaranteed by the law and the Constitution. Business owners should not have to choose between violating their faith and violating the law.”

The Supreme Court is also taking the case of the Mennonite cabinet makers forced to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs.

I think many people throw around the word “fascism” without really understanding what the word means. But this HHS mandate is a textbook case of fascism.

Here is the Merriam-Webster definition:

: a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government

: very harsh control or authority

Now, right away, it should be obvious that there is no such thing as right-wing fascism. If right-wing stands for anything, it stands for free-market capitalism, free trade, private property and individual rights (e.g. – free speech, right to life, etc.). Right-wing politics means the freedom to spend what you earn on what you choose to spend it on. Because it’s your money – you earned it. Fascism requires the government to control your basic liberties, including what you earn, and how you spend what you earn. That’s why fascism is solely a phenomenon of the political left. Only the political left wants to tell you how much of your earnings you can keep, and how much of your earnings must be spent on things you don’t need. They have all kinds of reasons why they are justified in taking your money, but all their reasons amount to the same things: their values are higher than your values. Even if you worked for the money, they know better than you do what to spend it on. And if it violates your conscience to spend it on abortion drugs, then you can either pay or go to jail. Fascism.

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